Thursday, February 7, 2019

A Schooling by Fishes

An Opossum Pipefish, one of many species on the decline in the Port St. Lucie Estuary
Cognitive dissonance is the invisible shark in the sea of humanity. This mental predator permits even the most intelligent among us to expound sympathetically on the aggregate evidence, yet still think and act in opposition to reality.

Recently I attended a lecture by a seasoned riparian scientist who presented the challenges of preserving numerous species in the St. Lucie estuary system, the opossum pipefish and bigmouth sleeper in particular. He delightfully highlighted several fishes he discovered and identified as unique species and the habitat loss their species are challenged with. His final appeal to the audience was to reduce fertilizer use on lawns as the best thing one could do to preserve the estuary biome toward saving these species.

And yet, he had no problem referencing throughout his presentation the continued killing of fish in the area for sport. (as humans do not require the flesh of fish to live healthily, all fish killing aka "fishing" is for sport). It is ironic to the point of insanity that a caring scientist who has championed endangered and threatened listings of native fishes for decades would condone the killing of fish when it is completely unnecessary.

The euphemism of "going fishing" has been implanted in our culture as an activity where a person can escape the travails of working to relax and connect with nature. In truth, these fisherpeople are zoning out to their barbarous actions. They will readily cite the long, treasured traditions of their ancestors killing in attempt to legitimize their deadly pastime. 

The better path is to contemplate the entirety of the evidence with integrity, especially when such evidence contradicts preconceptions that have accrued from past tradition. So, yes, stop spraying unneeded fertilizers on your lawns and consider more intelligent options such as turning ones lawn into a thriving biome using native plant species.

But if you are truly an advocate of restoring wildlife habitat and eliminating abuse of animals, please stop killing (directly and indirectly) all the fishes and other animals that simply want to live on the planet that belongs to them as much as it does to us.

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